Comorbidities of asthma in U.S. children

Respir Med. 2016 Jul;116:34-40. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2016.05.008. Epub 2016 May 10.


Background: Few epidemiologic population-based data are available to describe the wide range of health conditions that affect children with asthma. We conducted this study to identify common comorbidities of asthma during childhood and compare the prevalences of selected comorbidities among children with and without asthma.

Methods: We analyzed weighted data from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey child sample, a sample of 10,954 U.S. children aged 3-17 years. Information about each child's health, including history of asthma and other health conditions, was provided by an adult proxy respondent. We conducted binomial regression to compare the prevalences of 41 selected health conditions among children with and without current asthma.

Results: An estimated 10.4% of children aged 3-17 years (n = 1202) were identified as having current asthma. Nearly all conditions considered were more common among children with than without asthma. Compared to children without asthma, children with asthma had higher prevalences of hay fever or respiratory allergies (prevalence difference [PD]: 30.5%; 95% CI: 26.6, 34.4), eczema or skin allergies (PD: 14.1%; 95% CI: 10.7, 17.5), sinusitis (PD: 11.3%; 95% CI: 8.4, 14.1), food or digestive allergies (PD: 10.4%; 95% CI: 7.7, 13.1), and difficulty with emotions, concentration, behavior, or getting along (PD: 7.9%; 95% CI: 4.7, 11.1).

Conclusions: These results highlight the burden of comorbidities among children with asthma. Improved understanding of the impact of comorbidities among children with asthma may help develop best practices for the assessment, treatment, and control of coexisting health conditions.

Keywords: Adolescent; Asthma; Comorbidity; Epidemiology; Pediatrics; Surveillance.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Asthma / complications*
  • Asthma / epidemiology*
  • Asthma / ethnology
  • Asthma / psychology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Comorbidity / trends*
  • Cost of Illness
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Eczema / complications
  • Eczema / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Food Hypersensitivity / complications
  • Food Hypersensitivity / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Prevalence*
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / epidemiology
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal / epidemiology
  • Sinusitis / complications
  • Sinusitis / epidemiology
  • United States / epidemiology